Email is a crucial communication tool, both at work and during job search. Unfortunately, it is all too easy to make a detrimental email mistake that has the potential to kill your career or bring your job search to a halt. Don't let these happen to you.
1. Unprofessional email address.
No, HotMama@gmail.com is not an appropriate address to use to send your job search correspondence. In fact, it's probably dead-ending possible opportunities. Create a professional email account name for all professional interactions online. If possible, choose some version of your name, or your name combined with your professional title. For example, JohnSmithSales@gmail.com
2. Sending emails with too many links.
This isn't dangerous until you need to make sure your crucial email lands in someone's "in" box. Be aware: some companies have very sensitive spam filters that may identify emails with a lot of links as trash. If you use a fancy email signature including lots of links, it's not a bad idea to delete or simplify it when you apply for a job or when you try to touch base with a new networking contact. When your intended recipient doesn't receive your message, it certainly puts a damper on future communication!
3. Failing to respond.
How often do you check email from your phone and fail to file or mark it as an item to revisit later? In a busy day, it's too easy to see an email (even an important one) and plan to respond later, but forget to follow up. If you have a tendency to forget details and receive a lot of correspondence, make sure you review the your "seen" email at the end of each day so nothing gets lost.
4. Forgetting the attachment.
This doesn't sound like a fatal error, but when you've just applied for a job indicating how detail oriented you are, but forgot to attach your resume, it could be the end of the line for your application. Consider attaching documents before you compose the email so you'll never send an email saying, "see attachment" without the accompanying documentation.
5. Not monitoring your email inbox.
If your social networking notifications go to an email address you don't check, you could be missing opportunities. Be sure you know where those important messages will land, and if it isn't in email boxes you normally check, make a note to change the email or have them forwarded to an address you monitor closely.
6. Accidentally sending an email to the wrong person.
It happens. You use the touchpad on your Smartphone to select an email and reply to it, only to receive an immediate auto reply – from the wrong person! Oops – you realize your phone pulled up the wrong message. If you're lucky, the content you accidentally sent was non-confidential or neutral and a quick note saying you're sorry to have sent a misdirected email takes care of it. But, what if it was an email meant for a friend complaining about your boss – that went to your possible next boss? Can you say "career killer?"
How can you avoid this problem? Even when you're rushed and replying on the run, be sure to double check the TO: line of your email. Try to avoid composing emails on the run, or when you have only a few seconds to respond, since that will naturally make you less inclined to verify the recipient. If at all possible, consider waiting until you can use a computer or tablet (with a screen bigger than your Smartphone) to send highly sensitive or confidential emails.